Jul 20, 2017

The 2011 Budget Control Act enacted nominal dollar caps on discretionary spending for FY 2013 to FY 2021. There is one cap for national defense and another cap for non-defense programs. The caps do not apply to spending for emergencies, war-related activities (called Overseas Contingency Operations, or OCO), and certain program integrity activities allowed by statute. But for all other discretionary spending, budgets cannot exceed the statutory caps.

The original caps were also reduced after the super committee failed to agree on the $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction required by the Act. Since then, the Congress and president enacted legislation to raise the caps for fiscal years 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.


Congressional Budget Office (CBO)

More about other budget terms, rules, and processes:

Ten Year Report

A decade of work addressing America's fiscal challenges to secure a healthy, growing economy.


This series of infographics helps put some of today's most pressing fiscal debates in context.